Oregon Constitution Challenge

Thank You for a Successful Oregon Constitution Challenge

The Cause to Restore, Preserve and Exhibit the Original 1857 Oregon Constitution

Oregon gained statehood in 1859, joining as the 33rd state in the Union. Two years prior to congressional approval, the state constitutional convention began drafting Oregon's founding document. It’s one of the most significant markers in our historical legacy, but the Oregon State Constitution needed repair and restoration to be preserved for future generations. In 2014, then Secretary of State Kate Brown and the Archives Division started a “Dimes for the Constitution” fund drive with Oregon’s school children. That drive raised about $7000. 

Secretary of State Dennis Richardson and the Oregon State Archives Division set out in 2017 to re-vitalize the drive by opening it up to all Oregonians to complete the project. Our goal of $100,000 was surpassed by $3,630 thanks to the generous donations of so many Oregonians! Watch the video below to learn more about the campaign to preserve this vital piece of Oregon history.

Conservation of the Original Oregon Constitution

By the Northeast Document Conservation Center

​​ ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

In 2014, then Secretary of State Kate Brown and the Archives Division started a "Dimes for the Constitution" fund drive with Oregon’s school children. That drive raised about $7000. However, that drive stalled and in 2017, Secretary of State Dennis Richardson and the Oregon State Archives Division set out in 2017 to re-vitalize the drive by opening it up to all Oregonians to help restore, preserve and exhibit the original 1857 Constitution. The fundraising goal of $100,000 was to provide for professional restoration of the historic document and a secure, climate-controlled display case and exhibit. This goal was surpassed by $3,630, thanks to the generous support of Oregonians statewide.

In 1984, Oregon schoolchildren raised over $37,000 in coins to re-gild the golden pioneer on the Oregon State Capitol. In that spirit, the Archives Division invited Oregon's school children in 2014, to contribute just 10¢ each to put the project on a path to success. The call for contributions was extended in 2017, to any Oregonian with a passion for our state's legacy.

The Constitution is both an important symbol of our democracy and the founding legal document upon which Oregon was built. It deserved to be restored and regularly displayed, and the Oregon Constitution Challenge gave Oregonians across the state an opportunity to protect our state Constitution and become a part of our state’s lasting legacy. ​​​​​​​​

The Oregon Constitution will be on public display more frequently than in the past. There will still be times when it's placed in the Archives stacks to ensure that the preservation needs of the Constitution are being met and to allow for the display of other import historical records in the environmentally controlled display case. The Constitution will also be displayed, on occasion at the Oregon State Capitol in their new, environmentally controlled display case and, because of the generosity of our donors, we are looking into purchasing a travelling case so the Constitution can be brought to more remote parts of the state so all Oregonians will have the opportunity to view the Constitution. ​​
​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​
​​​​​
The Oregon State Constitution rests in a case at the Oregon State Archives. 
​​

Crafting the Oregon Constitution

Learn more about how the Oregon Constitution was debated and written in the State Archives online exhibit, Crafting the Oregon Constitution: Framework for a New State​.

​​